Tag Archives: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

A fool's guide to an unpredictable weekend across Europe (except for Spain)

By Jonathan Gold

Manchester United’s completely unpredictable 1-0 win over Liverpool – sorry Kevin – and Spurs’ similarly shocking triumph over mighty Charlton were FA Cup fixtures reminding us of how dire the competition can be, but there were a couple of real surprises this weekend in the oldest cup tournament in the world.

Arsenal 1 – 1 Leeds United

While it’s not, you know, outside the realm of possibility for Arsenal to be stumped by lower-level opposition who outwork it and close down aggressively, the Gunners have been on a roll of late, after an important win over Chelsea and a disappointing draw with Manchester City that they nonetheless dominated utterly. However, Leeds led for much of the second half and were denied the win only by a very late penalty from Fabregas.

Manchester City 2 – 2 Leicester City

Anytime the lower-league club pulls it out over a top-flight competitor – particularly one whose team cost approximately 963 times more than the opposition – it’s fun to watch. And, somewhat surprisingly for a game involving Manchester City, it actually was a good one to watch, as Leicester leapt on City’s pallid defense, scoring in the first minute and pulling level again midway through the second half. For a team full of wildly expensive defenders and defensive midfielders, City really was shocking at the back and could easily have lost.

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Anelka and Ibrahimovic arrivals would boost MLS reputation

By Kevin Koczwara

Nicolas Anelka said he would like to play in the MLS once his contract expires at Chelsea in 2012. (Courtesy Jay Meydad)

By Kevin Koczwara

Nicolas Anelka and Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t be the youngest studs on the ranch when they decide to move the Major League Soccer. Anelka will be 33 in 2012, when his contract at Chelsea expires, and he expects there to be suitors in America to pick up his big salary desire and a more competitive league in the MLS by then. Ibrahimovic will be 33 as well when his contract expires with AC Milan – his sixth club –and he decides to plunge into the American soccer market.

With all the rumors swirling about layers like Ibrahimovic and Anelka moving to the MLS one has to wonder: is the MLS becoming a last stop on the professional soccer express? Yes. Is that a bad thing? No.

Americans want brand name everything — that’s not a secret — and as of right now, the MLS can’t afford brand name soccer players with its narrow budget. It just isn’t possible. So, we will have to live with the alternative: soccer stars in the dwindling pinnacle of their careers.

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Samuel Eto’o Scores in the Face of Racist Chants

Samuel Eto'o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic swapped teams in the summer of 2009. Eto'o moved to Inter Milan while Ibrahimovic headed to Barcelona, and their paths have been very different since the switch. Courtesy ruprtable flickr

By Kevin Koczwara

Samuel Eto’o scored his sixth goal in seven games for Internazionale on Sunday in the team’s, 1-0, win over Cagliari in front of a hostile crowd that partook in exposing the ugly side of Italian soccer: Racism.

The Italian national team called off a Euro 2012 qualifying match with Serbia after Serbian fans rioted in Genoa. The game had to be called after six minutes of play after Serbs threw flares onto the field and at rival Italian supporters. The riots filtered out into the streets, and the Italians were left wondering why the Serbs acted in the manner they did.

Then the fans in Cagliari showed the world that Italians still have a hard time with keeping up with FIFA’s “Say No to Racism” campaign and FARE (Football Against Racism in Euorpe). The referee of the match suspended play in the third minute because of the chants directed at Eto’o. Serie A officials gave referees the power to suspend play after Mario Balotelli was hounded and smeared by Juventus fans two years ago.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading – September 3, 2010

Steven Gerrard (left) is expected to lead England on Saturday in its first qualifying match for the 2012 European Championship. (Photo Courtesy Lionartois)

The Guardian – Gerrard needs to find rightful place with England – Richard Williams

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been productive with England, but his contributions at the club level come with more than goals. In the World Cup, Gerrard played well but failed to have the impact he does with Liverpool. Despite a goal against the United States in the fourth minute of the match, Gerrard provided very little to the Three Lions who failed to advance past the Round of 16. Against Bulgaria on Saturday, Gerrard scored will likely see time behind the principal striker – the same position he scored twice from against Hungary.

ESPN Soccernet – Spurs reject large transfer bid for Bale

Tottenham’s Gareth Bale has been one of the club’s most important players through its three matches in the English Premier League and the early stages of the Champions League. The 21-year-old Welshman joined the club in 2007 and may have been close to leaving during the recently closed transfer window. While no club was named, ESPN has reported that the North London club, which many believe has an outside chance at winning the Premiership this season, turned down a substantial offer for the winger.
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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 1, 2010

Real Madrid had a disappointing start to the season with a 0-0 draw with Real Mollarca over the weekend, but Mourinho is confident that with time he can make the team into Champions. Courtesy Paul Bence

Sky Sports — Jose – I’m not Harry Potter

New Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has had to answer plenty of critics this week after the team’s season opening 0-0 draw with Real Mallorca last weekend, and his answer is classic a from the “Special One.” Despite winning 17 trophies in the past 8 years with three teams, Los Blancos fans are still a little skeptical of Mourinho’s tactics after the opening draw. Madrid need to win almost every game this season because their closest rivals are the defending champions Barcelona, and Barca doesn’t drop many points in any league it is in.

BBC — Uefa bans vuvuzelas from European matches

Remember that buzzing sound that came from your television while watching the World Cup? Well it won’t be coming from it during any Uefa sanctioned games, including Euro 2012 qualifiers and the Champions League. Breathe a sigh of relief, I know we are. There was no bigger story from this past summer’s World Cup in South Africa than those horns that can cause hearing  loss and sound like a hornets nest.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — August 31, 2010

Manchester City broke the transfer record fee in England when they signed Brazilian forward Robinho from Real Madrid just two seasons ago. But the little playmaker has been a flop in the Premier League and had to be loaned out last summer to his boyhood club Santos for the season. Could he be on his way out of Manchester for good today?

The Washington Post – Bob Bradley to remain with U.S. National Team – Steven Goff

After leading the United States Men’s National Soccer Team to the Round of 16 in this summer’s World Cup, Bob Bradley has signed a four-year extension that will likely make him the leader of the USMNT for another World Cup. Bradley, who took over following Bruce Arena’s dreadful performance as manager in the 2006 World Cup, had been connected with the job atop England Premier League club Aston Villa, but he agreed to terms with U.S. Soccer on Saturday night. German national Jurgen Klinnsman, who has lived in California for years, was rumored as Bradley’s replacement.

The Guardian – van Persie likely out of a month – David Hynter

Arsenal fans worried that Saturday’s match at Blackburn was going to be more of the same – a loss or a draw instead of what should have been an easy three points. While the Gunners defeated Blackburn, 2-1, Arsenal fans did see a familiar sight, as van Persie left with an ankle injury. It is likely the Dutch international will miss at least one month due to the injury, which rules him out of European Championship qualifiers for the Netherlands and Champions League matches with Arsenal.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading – August 30,2010

Ronaldo could miss up to three weeks after injuring his ankle while playing for Real Madrid on Sunday. Courtesy Leslie Bay

Sky Sports — Injury blow for Ronaldo

The world’s most expensive player will be out for three weeks after getting injured during Real Madrid’s 0-0 draw with Real Mallorca on Sunday. Ronaldo picked up a right ankle injury and is expected to miss Portugal’s two upcoming EURO 2012 qualifiers against Cyprus and Norway as well as two league matches and the opening round of UEFA Champions League play for Madrid.

BBC — Villa to seek manager with Premier League experience

Caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald has Aston Villa in fourth place in the Premier League table after three weeks, but the club is looking for a more permanent replacement for the departed Martin O’Neill.  Villa’s management will be looking for a manager with Premier League experience to take the helm of the club as it looks to try and improve on last season’s results despite the loss of star James Milner and the resignation of manager Martin O’Neill. MacDonald has done a fine job leading the club, but a 6-0 thrashing a week ago to Newcastle was not a good showing the caretaker.

Boston.com — Hannover signs US midfielder DaMarcus Beasley

The former Rangers player was let go by the Scottish Premier League champions after his contract expired at the end of last season. Now, the U.S. international is set to join his compatriot Steve Cherundolo at Bundesliga club Hannover on a two-year contract. Hannover narrowly avoided relegation last season and has been looking to bolster their squad depth with inexpensive players.

The Guardian — Milan may bid for Manchester City’s Robinho, says Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi, AC Milan’s owner, has just signed Barcelona’s want away striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a loan deal and he is still looking for a few more parts to help bolster the Rossoneri squad. One possible move the the Italian club would be to try and strike up a deal with Manchester City for Brazilian Robinho. Robinho has fallen out of favor with City’s manager Roberto Mancinni and he is looking for a move out of England as he has not adapted to the style of play in the Premier League. While Milan are lining up more moves to improve their squad before tomorrow’s deadline, they could be seeing one of their best players from last season look for the exit. Striker Marco Borriello may be looking for a new club because the signing of Ibrahimovic means the Italian striker will have limited opportunities to play for the club this season.

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La Liga Preview: Mourinho leading Real

Jose Mourinho took over as manager of Real Madrid days after leading Inter Milan to victor in the Champions League final. The questions of whether or not anyone can be Barcelona and whether or not Mourinho can win anywhere will be answered about nine months from now. (Photo Courtesy: APasciuto)

By Joe Meloni

Visions of Spain captain Iker Casillas proudly brandishing the nation’s first-ever World Cup trophy two months ago are still fresh in the mind of soccer fans around the globe. Surrounding him on the podium were his teammates, including the likes of Barcelona stars David Villa, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Xavi and Andres Iniesta. While the group celebrated the championship together, it all ends once La Liga begins its season.

The stars of los Galacticos and the leaders of l’equip blaugrana don’t have much to celebrate together in most season. Last year, Barca edged out Real Madrid by three points and hopes to win the league for the third consecutive time.

There are, of course, other clubs in the league. But it always comes down Madrid and Barca when the season’s approaches its conclusion.

Unlike last season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thierry Henry won’t be able to help Barca to the title. And Jose Mourinho will be calling the shots in the Spanish capital.
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What The Soccer Guys are Reading – August 27, 2010

Diego had a tough time adapting to playing in Italy and now is set to return to the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg agreeing with Juventus on a transfer fee. Courtesy Benjamin Radzun

Sky Sports – Diego set for Wolfsburg

Brazilian midfielder Diego was the Bundesliga’s top player a little over a year ago when he suited up for Werder Bremen. Then he made a big move to one of Italy’s most storied clubs, Juventus. Now, it looks like he will be heading back to Germany after one under-achieving year in Italy. The Old Lady won’t recoup all of their losses from the transfer, but with the arrival of Alberto Aquilani from Liverpool (on loan with an option to buy) it looked like it was only a matter of time before the playmaker was looking for greener pastures — Wolfsburg could be just the place.

MLSsoccer.com – Feilhaber may have options outside Aarhus GF

U.S. international midfielder, Benny Feilhaber has been looking for a move out of Swedish club Aarhus GF during the transfer window. Feilhaber is looking for more first-team playing time and stronger competition. The 25-year-old Brazilian born American played in four games for the U.S. in South Africa this summer during the World Cup and had many clubs interested after his performance.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading – August 24, 2010

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott scored three goals against Blackpool om Saturday, which led to comparisons to Arsenal great Thierry Henry by manager Arsene Wenger.

ESPN Soccer – Hat trick draws Henry comparisons for Theo

After scoring three goals in Arsenal’s 6-0 thrashing of everyone’s second-favorite Premier League team Blackpool, Theo Walcott has drawn perhaps the ultimate compliment from manager Arsene Wenger. While Wenger praised his future as a striker, he also compared the 21-year-old Englishman to former Arsenal legend and current New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry. Walcott has struggled to find regular playing time since joining Arsenal, but with his manager’s backing 2010-11 could be a huge season for the youngster.

The Guardian – Liverpool reject €15m bid from Barcelona for Javier Mascherano – James Callow

Despite his refusal to play on Monday in a 3-0 loss to Manchester City, Liverpool is still holding strong on its financial demands for midfielder Javier Mascherano. The Argentine has already agreed to terms with La Liga side Barcelona, as part of his family’s goal to get the hell out of Liverpool. While Liverpool respects his wish to leave Merseyside, it will not agree to any contract that does not provide any financial benefit. Roy Hodgson will need a lot of motivation to start Lucas 36 more times. Continue reading

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